Sunday, 17 November 2013

Name the Biologist

This one is interesting as I'd never heard of the man before this week. It seems a classic case of writing a book gets you a lot more mainstream attention than publishing a paper.

As for the last instalment - the biologists were John Kendrew and Max Perutz who shared the 1962 Nobel prize for chemistry for their work on discovering the structure of heme-containing proteins. Perutz is the main reason I chose them for the quiz as he was (as far as I know) the first person to crystalise a large protein for X-ray crystallography and thus discover the structure.
I say "large" as is it was only in my digging around that I discovered the original developer of protein crystallography was actually Dorothy Hodgkin. She was a true pioneer in the developing the field (along with her John Desmond Bernal) and won the nobel prize in 1964 for solving the structure of vitamin B12 using X-ray Crystallography. I think I'll cheat and retroactively add her to the previous quiz.
Anyway the point is that X-ray Crystallography is an essential tool in the field of Biology and without it we wouldn't have a lot of major discoveries such as the structure of DNA and a lot of information on how drugs bind proteins or how viruses attach to cells. It still seems like magic to me so I salute those who understand it and especially those who developed it for use with proteins.

1 comment:

  1. Wallace, came up with evolution through natural selection in parallel with Darwin. Very similar ideas to Darwin but whilst Darwin focused a lot on the idea of competition (survival of the fittest), Wallace gave more importance to environmental pressure as a driver of adaptation. Same main concept, half empty half full kinda thing.